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Arkema to invest in new bio-based nylon production


French materials supplier Arkema SA is expanding its activities in Asia, with a number of key investments announced in the region, including at its Nansha, China facility.

The Colombes, France-based company said in a July 11 news release that it planned to invest 300 million euros ($342.2 million) over five years, in the biosourced nylon 11 chain to increase its global production capacity by 50 percent.

The expansion plan will see the construction of a "world-scale" plant in an undisclosed location in Asia dedicated to producing Rilsan PA11 biosourced nylon from castor oil.

This, said Arkema, will "significantly increase" production capacity in that region.

The project falls in line with Arkema's strategy to accelerate its development in advanced materials, and is part of its bid to sustain its customers' strong growth, in particular in automotive, 3D printing, and in consumer goods markets such as sports and electronics, the company stated.

The new plant, which will produce both the amino 11 monomer and its polymer, is expected to come on stream in late 2021.

The investment also includes a 50 percent increase in Arkema's global production capacities for biosourced nylon elastomer Pebax, in particular Pebax RNew of which amino 11 is a key component.

"This project represents a milestone in the development of our specialty polyamides over the next few years... Today more than ever, we stand by our customers to offer them ultra high-tech biosourced product ranges," said Thierry Le Hénaff, Arkema chairman and CEO, in the release.

The materials will be suitable for applications in electronics, 3D printing and automotive industries.

Arkema predicted that during the next few years, demand from Asia will hit 7 percent per year.

In a separate statement July 11, Arkema also announced its plans to expand production capacity for its Sartomer speciality photocure resins at its Nansha facility in China.

This new production line, said Arkema, will help meet "strong customer demand" in Asia in the electronics, 3D printing and inkjet printing cutting-edge markets.

The new production line for UV, LED and EB (electron beam) photocure resins is expected to come on stream early 2019.

The two projects are consistent with underscore the group's strategy to significantly step up the development of its advanced materials to eventually account for over 25 percent of sales, while continuing to consolidate its presence in Asia.

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